Teenage pregnancies soar in Kerala
Thiruvananthapuram: In a shocking revelation, a detailed report released by the Economics and Statistics Department of Kerala Government points out that 20,995 women who gave birth in the year 2019 were teenagers. The report also shows an increase of 534 cases from a total of 20461 cases identified in 2018. The data shows the harsh reality of how child marriage and pregnancy is prevailing in the state.
Among the age group of 15-19, 10,613 live births in the Urban areas and 5,747 in the rural areas were registered in the state. Further, 5,239 of the deliveries were caesarean. While no maternal mortality was reported during 2018, two deaths were registered in 2019. Despite these alarming numbers, there were also a total of 99 deliveries that ended up with the woman's death or loss of the baby before or during delivery.
While 20,597 girls gave birth to their first child, 316 gave birth to their second child, 59 to the third, and 16 to a fourth child. Interestingly, the majority of these teenagers had undergone an elementary or higher education.4,285 girls were from the Hindu community, 16,089 from Muslim Community, 586 from the Christian community. The details further question the Kerala Model, and the socio-cultural development that the state tries to project in front of the national and international community.
Activist and social worker Dhanya Raman pointed out that the personal life of people is getting more and more complicated because of various reasons.
'There are no studies conducted by organisations like the Women's commission in the state that could reveal the extent of struggles faced by the women in Kerala. Only when an issue like dowry case is reported, people get bothered enough to indulge deeper into the problems faced by women,' she said.
Many parents marry their daughters off at a very young age and believe that they have made their life safe and secure. However, that is not the case. At a very tender age, they had to go through mental struggles and depression. Further, they get impregnated at an age even when they are not mentally prepared to raise a child. This is a big problem today. Underage marriages cause a lot of complications, and this creates stress in the relationship. Even when this happens, the girl is unable to return to their parents, or to anywhere else. This is one of the reasons why mothers are forced to kill their newborns or choose means of abortion. There is a need for the system to study these data and take necessary steps to mitigate issues like this," said Dhanya Raman.